These Buttermilk Biscuits are soft, flaky, layers of the most fluffy delicious biscuits ever! Loved for generations, this heirloom southern biscuit recipe only takes three ingredients is simple to make!

Golden Buttermilk Biscuit with soft layers sitting on stone board //

Hot, fluffy big buttermilk biscuits fresh from the oven. Sometimes, there’s absolutely nothing better! And believe it or not, these could not be any easier to make. Three ingredients, my time-tested biscuit making tips and a little tender loving care…that’s really all it takes to make these iconic southern favorite biscuits. I think it is one of those essential biscuit recipes that most cooks will enjoy having in their recipe collection. And people won’t believe you at first when you to tell them how easy they are to make.

Buttermilk Biscuits

These are the biscuits that I watched my Mama and Grandmother make thousands of times growing up and have made hundreds more times myself. Making these are second nature to me after making them for so many years and the process is super simple, and honestly very relaxing. So I hope some of my tips can help you in your own biscuit-making journey!

Now, while I’m going on and on about how easy they are to make, the ingredients are what really make the magic happen. You will not get the same results if you change the ingredients, in my opinion. So, let’s talk about these simple, yet magical ingredients for just a sec.

The Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuit:

  1. Flour (Self-Rising)
  2. Shortening
  3. Buttermilk

1.The Flour I Use for My Buttermilk Biscuits

For my biscuits, I prefer to use White Lily® flour. Made of soft winter wheat, this flour is a fine, silky flour that yields a very soft and tender biscuit. I also like it for my homemade pie crust and other baked goods. My grandmother swore by this brand of flour for her baking. I’ll admit I’ve tried other brands for my biscuits and baking. I always get best results with this one. You can use any favorite self-rising flour (or make your own self rising flour). This is just my opinion from baking hundreds, if not thousands of baked goods.

Large ceramic bowl of flour with shortening and pastry cutter 
 - ©

2. Use Shortening

The second ingredient for this magical three ingredient buttermilk biscuit recipe is shortening. Vegetable shortening to be specific.

Shortening lends moisture and flakiness to these buttermilk biscuits that other ingredients just doesn’t provide. While I love butter as much as the next girl, you just won’t get the same results in these biscuits by replacing the shortening with butter.

You’ll cut your shortening into your flour using a pastry blender, two forks or even two knives until the flour and shortening mixture looks like it is coarse meal.

Closeup of flour that has had the shortening cut into the mixture for Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits with buttermilk being slowly added - ©

3. Buttermilk

This is the reason these biscuits have the name they do, after all. My Grandmother always taught me to take special care to stir the buttermilk into the flour mixture very gently when making biscuits. Otherwise, if you over-mix your biscuit dough, the result will be tough, dry biscuits and not fluffy, light, and delicious biscuits that we all love.

Golden Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits - ©

I then pop my biscuits into a super hot oven, which allows them to quickly rise and turn a beautiful golden brown in just a few minutes.

Tips for How to Make the Best Buttermilk Biscuits:

  • First, don’t over-mix. I know I said that earlier, but this it deserves mentioning again. Mixing too much can make the biscuit dough tough and and not rise to those beautiful, light biscuits we all love!
  • Roll out the dough and fold into layers. Gently mold the edges and slightly flatten into a rectangle.
  • Use a sharp-edge biscuit cutter and cut straight down. Don’t twist. Avoid using a cutter with a rounded edge like a glass – it can crimp the dough closed and prevent a good rise.
  • If biscuits touch, they rise a bit higher.
  • If biscuits are spaced a bit apart – they show defined, visible layers.

My best advice, is just get in there and make them! They are so easy to make and are going to be delicious if you follow these simple tips and the recipe. But a little practice will result in getting biscuits with all those beautiful layers. Regardless, these are some of the most delicious biscuits you’ve ever tasted!

Just take a look at all these flaky, golden layers!

Closeup of biscuits on a grey stone board - ©

Here’s the Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuit recipe that is definitely one of those essential recipes I turn to time and again.

Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe

Buttermilk Biscuits are an heirloom recipe and this three ingredient buttermilk biscuit recipe is a must-have recipe for any cook.
4.8 from 25 votes

Review Recipe

Print Recipe

Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 6
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch


  • 2 cups self-rising flour + more for flouring board and cutter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening + more for greasing pan
  • 3/4 cup buttermik


  • Preheat oven to 475º F. Lightly coat rimmed baking sheet or cast iron skillet with vegetable shortening. Set aside.
  • Add flour to a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender, two forks, or knives until well-combined. Slowly pour in buttermilk and stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour biscuit dough onto a floured pastry cloth, paper towels, or dough board. Gently pat or roll to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out biscuits using about a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits into skillet or on baking sheet pan, leaving about an inch between biscuits to allow them to rise and cook fully. Place in preheated oven and bake about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
Have you made this recipe?Tag @addapinch on Instagram or hashtag it #addapinch
Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe - This three ingredient buttermilk biscuit recipe will absolutely change your biscuit-making life. It is one of those essential biscuit recipes that every cook should have available in their recipe box or, better yet, memorize if at all possible. //

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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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140 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. I really wish you would post a picture of what the dough looks like once you have the buttermilk incorporated. If I am not overworking my dough, I am not working it enough. (sigh) How do you mix it in (spoon, fork, spatula, hands, etc)?I so want to make good biscuits.

    1. Hi Gabbi,
      I usually use a wooden spoon and mix gently, just until the buttermilk is incorporated. Thanks for the input about additional pictures of that step – I’ll try to add a picture soon. Thanks so much! Enjoy the biscuits! xo

  2. If White Lily flour is not available in your area (usually only sold in stores in the Southern states), order on line from
    3 – 5 lb bags are very reasonable and they pay postage. My comes in just a couple of days UPS. I store mine in my freezer or at least one bag in freezer as the cold flour helps make better biscuits. My daughter lived in Little Rock AR for some time and I was so happy to find this flour on grocery store shelves but in the Midwest it is not common. Now I always have a supply on hand. Be sure to order SELF RISING flour for biscuits. They also produce Lily White without the baking powder etc for other recipes and both are clearly listed. Same price. IT IS JUST THE BEST IF YOU ARE A BAKER!! This is a traditional easy biscuit recipe. They make fresh, hot biscuits for almost every meal!
    During my busiest times of the year, I mix up ANGEL BISCUITS and keep some dough in the refrigerator for almost instant biscuits!
    The dough recipe has yeast in it so ready to go (the baking powder is already in your Lily White flour), light and fluffy biscuits in a very few minutes. Keeps for a week or more, but I use it up in a few days!

  3. The flour used in this recipe already has the rising agent (baking powder/baking soda) added to it. If you use any other flour, like coconut, almond, or all purpose, you have to add the rising agent to the dough.

  4. Is the reason you don’t add salt to the recipe because there is already sodium in the the self-rising flour? Would additional salt be too much? I was taught that salt add to the tenderness of baked goods,so I’m curious..

    1. I always make biscuits and freeze them and cook 2 or 4 at a time. works well. You must freeze them individually first. Then I put them in a ziploc bag until I am ready to cook them.

  5. Have made this twice and both of them bombed! First ones tasted good but look bad in the second one’s looked and tasted bad I followed the directions maybe I didn’t makes it enough do I need to brush the top of butter anything what makes them turn brown? I want to try them again but I hate to waste all these ingredients. I know it doesn’t take a lot and it’s trial and error but I keep seeing this 3 ingredient biscuits everywhere and I cannot do it for some reason.

    1. My mother taught me how to make biscuits. Same recipe but added baking powder. They always turn out great. Brush butter on top after they are done.

  6. Hi Robyn! After pre-heating the oven do you turn the oven off once the biscuits go in for baking? I did not and my biscuits were scorched! By the way, this is the only one of your recipes that did not work for me; I faithfully turn to your website for all of my baking needs!

    1. Hi Cara!
      Oh NO! That’s so frustrating! I don’t turn the oven off after preheating and my biscuits cook about 10 – 12 minutes at that temperature. Were they scorched on the bottom or the top? The reason I ask this is to see if the oven rack might have been positioned a bit too low or too high. Also, are you in an area that would need to make adjustments due to altitude? Hopefully, together, we can crack the code as to what went wrong for you! xo

  7. Thank you Robyn!!! I’ve tried a dozen different biscuit recipes I’ve found on Pinterest, and finally here is one that is easy AND really good! They are so easy and turned out perfect. I did brush extra melted shortening on the top for browning. They turned out a little crispy on the outside and tender and soft on the inside. Perfect!

  8. I use butter Crisco to cut into the flour. You get the benefits of lard but with a butter taste throughout the biscuit.

  9. What changes would I need to make to this recipe at higher altitudes? I’m originally from Alabama and live in Colorado and this is exactly how my grandma made biscuits, except she pinched the dough and rolled it by hand. Anyways, I miss biscuits. No one here knows how to make them like rhis.

    1. Hi Kim,
      I’m not sure of the adjustments needed as I’ve not baked them at high altitude. I hope you enjoy them! Nothing like some delicious southern biscuits and I’m sure you have great memories of your grandmother’s biscuits! Thanks!

      1. Hi Kim,
        In responce to your high altitude concerns, I would check with Colorado’s extension services. You will find them in the phone book or on you telephone information 411.
        If all else fails.any state University. They can at least direct you to someone who can help you. Also just simply Google it on the computer.

  10. This recipe brings back fond memories for me of a beloved Aunt! Ga girls here! Anyway my question is in your instructions you say to rise and cook. How long do you let them rise? Thanks for your time!! Renata

    1. Hi Renata,
      Glad to hear from another Georgia girl! You just leave the space between the biscuits like I give in the instructions, which will allow the biscuits to rise and be fluffy and delicious after baking. You just prepare them according to the recipe and then bake them.
      I hope you enjoy! Thanks! xo

  11. I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 times now and they are just like my grandma’s biscuits. I commented earlier with a question about altitude since I live in Colorado. The answer is: no change to the recipe is needed at 4k-5k feet! The only thing I do different is I leave them in the oven for an extra 3 minutes. 12 minutes still left them white on top. That extra time gives them a little more brown. This recipe is perfect otherwise. Thank you so much for sharing it! I’ve missed my grandma’s biscuits. 🙂

  12. I make decent biscuits with butter. I quit eating, as much as possible, hydrogenated oil years ago so solid shortening is out when I cook. The remainder of the recipe is about the same. Like your site though, keep it up!

  13. So happy I found this recipe! My mother-in-law used to make the best homemade biscuits, but never went by a recipe. She now has Alzheimer’s & cannot begin to tell us how she made. I remember watching her years ago & I know this is pretty close to the way she made them. I’ve attempted twice now & they have turned out pretty well except they are little more crumbly.
    What should I do to correct that? Thanks for sharing so that we can pass this down to next generation!

    1. I’m so glad that you found a recipe close to the one that your mother-in-law made! I’m so sorry about her Alzheimers. I’ll be thinking of her!

      If your biscuits seem to come out more crumbly than they should, you may want to add a little bit more buttermilk to the dough. The other reason they could be more crumbly is that you may want to use less flour when you are rolling out your biscuit dough. To test if that is the issue or not, you could make this biscuit recipe and then make them as drop biscuits. Just scoop the dough rather than rolling out and cutting and drop onto a sheet pan and bake as directed. I hope that helps! xo

  14. I made two batches of these with regular store-brand self-rising flour, bacon grease and creme fraiche that was a little runny, and added chopped chives and minced garlic. I realize it may sound off but they turned out fabulous! They were served alongside pot-roast and potato gratin for our family gathering and everyone ate them up in no time flat. I do not keep shortening or buttermilk, but keep strained bacon-drippings in the fridge for a rainy day, and make my own creme fraiche. It keeps for a couple weeks then breaks down, a bit like buttermilk in taste and consistency, so I thought to give it a go. Very glad I did! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. I’m not sure how many men you are cooking for, but I make this recipe for my family for a breakfast or meal. So you may want to make more than one recipe. You will probably find it easier to mix up one batch at a time though. Enjoy them! Thanks!

  15. The 3 ingredient biscuits would be greatly improved with a little salt and baking powder! Or perhaps baking soda in the buttermilk. ????

  16.  Was just wondering after you mix the ingredients and cook the biscuits out could you freeze them for later use 

  17. I’ve heard about your recipes and tried it this morning for the first time. Unfortunately, they didn’t turn out all that great. I started reading the comments to see if I could get a clue to my bad results. I realized that I bought the wrong White Lily. I used the White Lily all purpose flour. The biscuits turned out flat and dense.
    Is there an adjustment to the ingredients I can add [baking powder] to get better results?

    1. Hi Steve,
      I’m sorry they didn’t turn out the first time, but the wrong type of flour surely caused them to be flat. If you don’t have Self Rising Flour as called for in the recipe, then you can use my recipe for How to Make Self Rising Flour from the all purpose flour that you have.
      Hope you enjoy the biscuits! 🙂

  18. can i substitute shortening with butter? im in london and shortening needs to be bought from amazon plus is pricey. thanks

  19. Can you use the buttermilk substitute in this recipe.  (Milk and vinegar). I don’t have buttermilk in the house.

  20. Made them tonight fir the second time. First time they rose beautifully, this time they were a little flat. I think I over- handled the dough. Practice makes perfect!

  21. I watched my grandmother make these for years. There were many times we didn’t have money for milk or buttermilk, shortening either. She made them with water and lard and sometimes powdered milk. You could tell the difference, but you cant get blood from a turnip, right? I have never seen her add eggs, yeast, or sugar…not even when she could have afforded the extra ingredients. That sounds more like a cake or muffin dough, but I will try it sometime soon.

    1. Simple food made with love is so good, isn’t it Cindy. I always loved watching my grandmother make these simple, delicious biscuits and enjoy making them for my family too. Thanks so much!

  22. I just tried making these with White Lily flour, and the batter was incredibly wet. Impossible to knead. I know I measured everything correctly but I don’t know what I did wrong???

  23. I just found this recipe today and want to make it tonight to go with dinner. I do not have buttermilk on hand. Is there a substitute for the buttermilk? Can I just use the milk/vinegar substitute I see online? Thank you for your help with this!

  24. I can never figure out how thin/thick to roll out dough for biscuits. I just end up frustrated and go with drop biscuits. Can you tell me a foolproof way to roll them out?  Thanks!

    1. Kat,
      You might want to look at the photos and description of how I make my Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. Rolling out and cutting the dough is the same as for my Three Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuit. As I state in my instructions on the recipe, I roll my dough out into a 1/2 inch deep disc. Hope this helps!

  25. Hands down the best biscuits ever. This Northerner felt like a Southern lady as the biscuits were absolutely perfect and my family swooned. Thank you for this forever recipe. The mixing is key, I mix them like muffins or scones, until JUST incorporated with separate bits

  26. I tried as directed but they were just flavorless. For the next round I did 50% butter 50% Shortening and had great results. Also you have to add salt! Can’t believe this recipe is totally devoid of sodium.

    1. Colt, I’m sorry you didn’t like the biscuit recipe as written but it sounds like you made one that works for you. No salt is added to this recipe because salt is already included in the self-rising flour.

  27. Hi Robyn,
    I really would like to try this meal however, Im finding impossible to get White Lily Flour in Australia can do suggest something that is available here??
    We do have bakers pastry flour not sure if it is the same.

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